The story behind Pele’s amazing goalscoring record

The story behind Pele’s amazing goalscoring record

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17-year-old Pele with goalkeeper Gilmar dos Santos Neves and Didi after the 1958 World Cup gold.

Pele’s status as one of the greatest footballers of all time has never been in dispute, but it is Not It is said about the number of goals he scored in his career.


Exactly how many times Pele found his way into the net is not certain.

However, most statisticians believe the number to be between 1281 and 1283.

FIFA has set his goalscoring record at “more than 1,200”. More than 1,000 of them have registered for the parent club Santos. Most of the others from the time grew up in the New York Cosmos and the Brazilian national team.

At the same time, it raised questions about some of its goals. Nearly half of those have come in friendlies – including matches he played as an army soldier. Some say they don’t measure goals scored in official matches.

Spanish football giants Barcelona celebrated in December 2020 when Lionel Messi scored his 644th goal for the club. It exceeded 643 goals scored by Pele for Santos in official matches.

Two months later, Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 768th goal, three more goals than Pele’s total in official matches.

Pele sent his congratulations to both players, but his fans still claim that the Brazilian top scorer’s record is in a class of its own because friendlies were much more serious in Pele’s time than they are today.

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In the 1960s, European clubs rarely captured the best players in South America as now, and rarely do the top teams from each continent meet in important matches. So when they first met in friendlies, there was a lot at stake, it was said.

Since the late 1950s, Santos has been traveling around Europe and large parts of the world every year. The reason is that foreign clubs will pay them a lot of money to be able to see Pele and his teammates closely.

The trips were difficult. Santos sometimes played two matches in three days, and there was not always time to train, rest or eat properly. Players often slept on night trains and subsisted on fruit and chocolate.

However, Pele shot into the net after the goal. He scored against top clubs such as AC Milan, Juventus, Napoli, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.


Najuma Ojukwu

Najuma Ojukwu

"Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner."

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